Your animal of strength – the totem animal
The concept of an animal of strength, or a totem animal, is widespread in many cultures. In the Jewish culture, there are examples of the use of animals as symbols of a personality or behavior type. Some of the pennants of the tribes of Israel bore pictures of the animal that represented the tribe. The most famous is the Lion of Judah. The writings of one of the sages, in which he suggested that it is preferable to be a lion’s tail rather than a fox’s head, describes the way in which our animal of strength is supposed to help us. In the Native American culture, every tribe, clan, and nuclear family had a totem. Today, too, in various organizations and companies, animals are used as symbols that represent the group that participates in a particular type of activity, mainly in the USA (such as the “Lions” organization, “The Generous and Protected Order of the Antelope”, etc.). Sports teams also adopt totem animals, such as the Chicago Bulls.
Christianity adopted two “totem” animals – the lamb, which symbolizes Jesus, and the fish.
As we said, in Judaism, too, every animal represents a particular kind of energy. The fish is a symbol of fertility, the lion is the symbol of power and strength, the deer is a symbol of speed, and so on.
The second type of totem animal is the personal and individual one. These animals are energies, and, according to certain beliefs, spirits that protect and guide us in life. It is interesting that to this day, many parents give their children some kind of fluffy animal – a bear, for instance – to make it easier to fall asleep and help them feel protected. They are not aware of it, generally speaking, but this is also a totem animal.
The signs of the Zodiac also contain animals that attest more than once to the energy that influences the person’s life.
Frequently, we unconsciously identify the totem animal of a particular person. We look at him, and he seems to “remind” us of a certain animal. We also use animal descriptions to describe various people.
Animals hold a place of honor among the shamans. The first task of the future shaman is to learn to travel in other worlds and dimensions and discover his own totem animal, his animal of strength. This knowledge is necessary for starting the young shaman’s protracted learning process.
Personal animals of strength are generally the reflection of the self, and also represent qualities needed in this world, which are often hidden, concealed, and not yet expressed. Sometimes, people feel somewhat disappointed when they discover that their animal of strength is a “small” animal that seems to lack strength, such as a rabbit or a mouse. This error derives from a lack of understanding that the spirit of the animals, or their energies, is neither “small” nor “big” – it is not limited to the boundaries of this world and the physical reality and size of the animal, or to its strength in the physical world. None of those factors is relevant. Whether your animal of strength is “big” or “small,” you will quickly discover that in time of need, it will help you exactly to the extent that you need help.
According to the Native American tradition, the personal totem animal, in contrast to family, clan, or tribal totem animals, may change several times during the person’s lifetime, according to his specific needs. At times when you feel weak, exhausted, and depressed, your totem animal is far away from you, and you have to bring it back or find a new one.
We all have a totem animal – an animal of strength, energy that is represented by a certain animal – that is linked to us and protects us. Many animals of strength serve as our guards and protectors, and exist in other dimensions. Certain animals were with us in previous lives, but they may have had a different physical form. Occasionally, a particular animal of strength of ours may appear in our lives in a different form and establish physical contact with us by coming into the world as a cat, a dog, and so on.
When you go on the journey to discover your animal of strength, it is almost certain that forces, or certain energies (as we said, according to the Native American tradition, those are the spirits of the animal; I personally prefer to define them as the energy of the animal), will introduce themselves as your animal of strength. If you already know and are familiar with your animal of strength, the animal you meet on your journey will bless you and grant you additional power.
According to the Native American tradition, all birds and mammals are positive totem animals. Any positive totem animal can be your animal of strength. However, not only familiar and well-known animals are our animals of strength. Insects and reptiles can serve as transmitters of messages or give us a certain insight that will support us during the rest of our mental and spiritual development. Sometimes, the animal of strength may be an extinct animal (such as the Australian bird, the dodo), a mythological animal (such as the unicorn or Pegasus, the winged horse), or even a centaur (half man and half horse, one of Sagittarius’ symbols).
Sometimes it can be an animal that does not exist in any mythology or in any zoological textbook – a unique animal or an animal from another world.
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